February 23, 2011
Standard Tame '87 Fare
I have a real hard time listening to the '87-'90 shows. My era was '83-'86. After the coma there was way too little jamming for me. Even in '89-when the so-called improv came back, it was too tame and too short. Just a real thin sound. The band sounded tight, clean, even powerful once in awhile. But they lacked the overall power and consistent raw edge they had in the early-80's, and that makes it hard to deal with for me. Phil's original Modulus 6-string, which he replaced in late - '85 with a new one that had the same design, was replaced again in '87 and they never had the fat clean sound they had '83-'86 again. And Brent did less with the Hammond B-3. These two factors are huge differences in their sound, and then the whole MIDI thing which I never liked. The Dead are better dirty and raw, not clean and shiny.
This is a well-played show for the time, if I was at the show I would have probably left early, but again, considering the era, this is good. Pretty standard fare for this era. I always thought the Dead's version of Watchtower was pretty lame, despite a good solo in it once in a while. At that point we were all so sick of Dylan covers at that point, especially from Weir, who in my view never did Dylan well. Garcia's version of Masterpiece dwarfs Weir's, Desolation Row went nowhere, Queen Jane was a joke and a waste of time. Give me a full Weather Report Suite or a Black Throated Wind was my take. (We finally got a BT Wind 3/16/90 which was nice even with the temporary new lyrics.) The few bright spots of this year to me are Hampton, Pittsburgh and Roanoke, then a night or two at the Cap Centre and MSG in the fall. Sound is great as always with the Dream Team of Miller, Scotton, and Walker, your efforts are so much appreciated by us early/mid-80's Heads.